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Former apartheid president FW de Klerk dies at age 85

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FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa has been announced dead.


“The former president died earlier this morning at his home in Fresnaye after his struggle against cancer. He was 85-years-old. He is survived by his wife Elita, two children Susan and Jan, and his grandchildren.” The FW de Klerk Foundation’s spokesperson Dave Steward confirmed his death to News24 on Thursday.

In a statement on 8 June 2021, the foundation said he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – “a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs” – in March 2021. He was receiving immunotherapy for the illness.

De Klerk was the head of state from September 1989 until May 1994 and became one of the country’s two deputy presidents after the first multi-racial, democratic election in April 1994.

He succeeded PW Botha as the leader of the National Party in February 1989 after Botha suffered a stroke and resigned from the party leadership. He became president seven months later after Botha quit the post in anger and the National Party won a whites-only election with a reduced margin.